Loryn Brantz is a force of extraordinary creative talent. She’s also the woman who just delivered a new feminist hero into the world via the pages of her latest book, Feminist Baby. So simple, yet hilarious and brilliant, it’s an empowering (and awesomely illustrated) story about “a girl who’s not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way.” It’s the one children’s rhyming board book that every adult we know is going to want to read… over and over.
With today being the much-anticipated release of Feminist Baby, Loryn spoke with WYSK about the book, which she says has been a long time coming. “From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been trying think of a children’s story I could tell that would positively impact the world. So when one day I was looking for a baby book to buy for a friend’s shower and couldn’t find ANYTHING related to feminism for the 0-2 crowd, the idea of Feminist Baby hit me. I literally ran home to write it.” She added, “I wanted to write a book that I would want to give to my friends’ babies, and to my own possible future babies.”
So who is this smart, confident and unapologetic Feminist Baby that “loves to dance” and “says ‘no’ to pants”? An “irrepressible bundle of sass” is how Loryn describes her. “She lives life the way she wants to and doesn’t let the patriarchy get in the way. But, aside from all of that in a lot of ways she acts like a typical baby, which I think is a fun dynamic.”
Since feminism is still (sadly) a hard concept for some adults to grasp, it’s not odd to question what anyone could possibly expect a baby or very young toddler to take from a feminist-themed children’s book. But learning and understanding come from exposure and context, which is why Loryn embarked on the purpose-filled mission of writing and illustrating Feminist Baby. “I just like to think of it as a way to expose them to the word and familiarize them to it. I think it’s a great jumping off point for parents to talk to their children about feminism as they get older.” And it’s a book she hopes can keep on giving in the most profound way. “I’d like to think that if a child loves Feminist Baby, it will help them have a positive association with feminism later on in life.”
This is precisely why Loryn took this funny little book so seriously. “Feminism is so important to me and so complex and I really didn’t want to f*ck it up.” So when Feminist Baby got early, rave reviews from badass feminist thought-leaders like Kate Schatz, Jessica Valenti and Roxane Gay, Loryn cried. “To get the approval of such incredible women that I’ve admired for so long is an amazing feeling. To know they think I did a good job was everything.”
Though she’s not even a day old, we are already wanting more of Feminist Baby, so we were desperate to know about Loyrn’s extension plans for her… are more books in the works that will let devoted readers continue to be inspired by her and follow her adventures from a proud and pantless baby through her toddler, tween and teen years? We let out a collective squeal of delight when Loryn said, “Yes! I already have her whole life planned out in my mind. Whether it gets published or it’s just me handing out pamphlets in the park is yet to be determined, but hopefully it will be published!”
What Loryn has created with Feminist Baby is so much more than just a children’s (ages 0-2) rhyming board book. She’s given us a story and character for all ages to revel in, be inspired by, learn from and enjoy. And despite her very specific name, Feminist Baby’s impact can and should reach beyond just a fan club of adorning feminists. In fact, we think she could be used as a great tool for helping misguided and uninformed adults understand what it actually is to be a feminist. After sharing this observation with Loryn, she responded with a “Ha!” and expressed herself far more diplomatically than we had. “I do like to think this book would be a great gift for adults who are very early in their feminist development.”
What else you should know about Loryn Brantz
Loryn Brantz is multidimensional talent… animation, illustration, design, prop and puppet building (she won 2 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Costume, Design, and Styling for “Sesame Street”), concept development, art direction and graphic design. Her client list includes HarperCollins, PBS, and Facebook, and she’s currently on staff at BuzzFeed writing and illustrating “about stuff and things.”
Loryn has authored and illustrated three children’s books: Not Just a Dot (Sky Pony Press – September 2014); Harvey the Child Mime (Hometown 520LLC – 2010), for which she earned the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Best First Picture Book; and the “wildly fun and eye-opening” rhyming board book Feminist Baby (Disney-Hyperion – April 11, 2017).